R.A. Miller

R.A. Miller, Folk Artist,was from Rabbittown, an unincorporated Georgia community . He is known for his "whirligigs," or metal cutout figures, and drawings, which typically feature animal or human figures and short inspirational messages. Born on July 22, 1912, on the property where he lived for most of his life, Reuben Aaron Miller worked in cotton mills, farmed, and served as a preacher.  When chronic eye problems began to limit Miller's activities, he started making whirligigs to pass the time.  Miller's early whirligigs sometimes featured mechanical figures, but most were decorated with flat animal or human shapes, cut from tin and painted in enamel. Tin paddles were cut, painted, and attached to wooden cross forms or bicycle wheels to provide surfaces for the wind to catch.His animated environment attracted frequent visitors, including Athens rock group R.E.M. After folk-art dealers and collectors began to purchase Miller's inexpensive whirligigs in large quantities, the artist started to make and sell cutout figures independent of the whirligigs.

   Miller's work has been included in such exhibitions as Outside the Mainstream: Folk Art in Our Time at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta (1988) and Passionate Visions of the American South at the New Orleans Museum of Art in Louisiana (October 1993-January 1994). In 2004 Miller lost his sight to an eye infection and moved to a nursing home in Commerce, where he died in March 2006.